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BNP Paribas Venture Arm Among Investors to Inject $16.5M in Fintech Firm Token

Token says it will use the investment to develop its operating system and “accelerate new ways of innovating payments with digital money and ID solutions.”

Fintech firm Token has received a $16.5 million injection from investors including the venture arm of banking giant BNP Paribas, a news release announced on June 18.

The self-described open banking platform says it will use the capital to further develop its TokenOSTM operating system — and “accelerate new ways of innovating payments with digital money and ID solutions.”

According to the company, its ecosystem enables banks, customers and developers to complete transactions securely, instantly and with less friction. Token claims more than 4,000 banks have connected to its platform, with Mastercard recently coming on board as a partner. Steve Kirsch, Token’s founder and CEO, said:

“For banks, establishing an early position in this new hyper-connected market is a competitive advantage; a new wave of independent financial apps and services will soon be available to their customers, so banks need to be clear about their future roles.”

BNP Paribas’ Opera Tech Ventures was involved in the latest funding round, as well as existing investors including Octopus Ventures and EQT Ventures.

Earlier this week, it was confirmed that Italian banks are planning to deploy blockchain technology to improve transparency in transactions between financial institutions starting next year.

On June 13, blockchain software consortium R3 revealed it is developing a blockchain platform in Brazil with three global banks. Last month, more than 50 banks simulated letter of credit transactions using one of the company’s systems.

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Brazil: R3 Develops Blockchain Platform With Major Banks and Stock Exchange

Blockchain software startup R3 revealed that it is developing a blockchain platform in Brazil with Bradesco, Itau and B3.

Blockchain software consortium R3 revealed that it is developing a blockchain platform in Brazil with banks Bradesco, Itau and B3, Cointelegraph Brazil reported on June 12.

The R3 Consortium — which is composed of large banks and technology companies — announced during the CIAB Febraban event in São Paulo that it is currently collaborating with Brazilian banks.

During the event, R3 executives claimed that the consortium partnered with Itau and Bradesco banks to build a blockchain-enabled platform for foreign trade and insurance.

The consortium — which recently opened an office in the country — further noted that the Brazilian stock exchange was also using its Corda platform for digital identification.

The executive commented on the current developments, stating that before further expansion, blockchain technology needs to mature and become secure enough for large corporations.

As Cointelegraph reported in May, CULedger, a blockchain consortium and credit union service organization, chose R3’s Corda blockchain to underpin its forthcoming cross-border payments product.

Earlier this week, CIP, a facilitator of Brazilian banking and financial infrastructure, officially launched its blockchain ID platform via a partnership with IBM using the Hyperledger Fabric.

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Blockchain Credit Union Consortium to Use R3’s Corda for Cross-Border Payments Product

CULedger, a blockchain consortium and credit union service organization, has chosen R3’s Corda blockchain.

CULedger, a blockchain consortium and credit union service organization (CUSO), has chosen enterprise software firm R3’s Corda blockchain to underpin its forthcoming cross-border payments product. The news was reported by fintech news outlet Finextra on May 21.

As reported, CULedger joined the R3 global blockchain ecosystem in December 2018.

The blockchain CUSO implements the technology to improve cybersecurity and mitigate fraud risks, as well as to streamline administrative and operational processes for the credit union industry. CULedger also provides a specific blockchain-based identification solution for credit union members.

CULedger’s forthcoming product, dubbed CU Pay, has reportedly been designed to enable connectivity between payment networks and thus reduce friction in cross-border electronic funds transfers.

Slated for launch in 2020, CU Pay will reportedly be integrated with R3’s open source Corda-based decentralized application “Corda Settler.”

Corda Settler enables payment obligations raised on the Corda blockchain to be settled via any parallel payment rail that supports cryptocurrencies or assets, or otherwise any traditional payment rail that can provide cryptographic proof of settlement.

CULedger and R3 have reportedly stated that the implementation of Corda Settler will allow credit unions using the CULedger network to choose from a range of cost- and time-efficient, secure payment solutions — whether domestic or cross-border.

As Cointelegraph has reported, CULedger has also partnered with tech giant IBM to jointly develop new solutions using permissioned blockchain networks which will innovate existing business models and processes for the credit union industry.

Over 260 million credit union members — with over $1.7 trillion of circulating assets — are estimated to exist worldwide.

In December 2018, R3 added Ripple’s XRP token as the first cryptocurrency to be supported by Corda Settler.

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Three French Banks Join R3 Corda Blockchain-Based Loans Platform

BNP Paribas, Natixis, and Societe Generale have joined Finastra’s syndicated lending platform Fusion LenderComm.

British financial software firm Finastra has signed three global banks on its R3 Corda blockchain-based syndicated loans platform, the firm officially announced on May 14.

France-based banking institutions BNP Paribas, Natixis, and Societe Generale have officially joined Finastra’s syndicated lending platform Fusion LenderComm, following previous pilots back in 2017.

Based on blockchain consortium R3’s open source blockchain platform Corda Enterprise, Finastra’s Fusion LenderComm reportedly enables banks to instantly share credit agreements, accrual balances and position data to lenders.

Cécile Bartenieff, Chief Operating Officer of Global Banking and Investor Solutions at Societe Generale, stated that the Fusion LenderComm initiative will bring more transparency and operational efficiency to the syndicated loan market, which is “an illustration of how blockchain can help banks optimize the entire flow of financial operations.”

In October 2018, United Kingdom-based bank NatWest integrated the Fusion LenderComm platform.

Earlier today, popular Brazlian bank Banco Bradesco joined R3’s Marco Polo blockchain network for trade finance. Other member organizations include BNP Paribas, ING and the Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation.

Recently, Nordic private banking institution Nordea announced an expansion of its blockchain-powered trading platform we.trade to small and medium-sized business customers (SMEs). The platform intends to bring more trust in dealing with cross-border trades by SMEs.

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Over 50 Banks Simulate Letter of Credit Transactions on R3’s Blockchain in 27 Countries

Over 50 banks participated in the simulation of letter of credit transactions on R3’s blockchain platform in 27 countries on six continents.

Over 50 banks participated in the simulation of letter of credit transactions on R3’s blockchain platform in 27 countries on six continents. The company announced the development in a press release published on May 8.

Per the release, 96% of the participants said that the system — dubbed Voltron — will accelerate and reduce the cost of their letters of credits procedure. Furthermore, 86% of them reportedly believe the inefficiencies of the traditional system are becoming intolerable.

The company claims that Voltron cuts the execution time of the procedure from 5-10 days to under 24 hours. R3 states that, as a result of the adoption of the new system, 61% said that they are likely to move trade flows to “open account,” an option which is reportedly riskier for exporters.

The participants of the six-weeks-long trial reportedly include CIB, MUFG, National Bank of Egypt, RBI, Standard Bank and Societe Generale. The system was delivered through a partnership of Bain, CryptoBLK and R3 on Microsoft’s Azure cloud platform. Voltron is designed to be compatible with both Corda and Corda Enterprise, aiming to replace the traditional finance links and networks with a shared ledger.

As Cointelegraph reported in March, United Kingdom-based banking giant HSBC is seeking banking partners in South Korea to deploy Voltron in the country.

Kuala Lumpur-based Bursa Malaysia, the country’s stock exchange, is also working on a blockchain-enabled security borrowing and lending proof-of-concept in partnership with Hong Kong-based Forms Syntron Information, the stock exchange’s technology partner.

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Major Austrian Bank Raiffeisen Joins R3 Corda-Powered Global Trade Finance Network

Austria’s Raiffeisen Bank International has announced it will pilot R3’s Corda-powered Marco Polo blockchain network for trade finance.

Austria’s Raiffeisen Bank International (RBI) has announced it will pilot R3’s Marco Polo blockchain network for trade finance, according to a press release shared with Cointelegraph on May 8.

As previously reported, Marco Polo — which is powered by R3’s Corda enterprise blockchain platform — counts major international banks such as BNP Paribas, ING and Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation as members. Other prominent bank members include Standard Chartered Bank and NatWest, according to today’s press release.

RBI has reportedly been eyeing expansion in the Central and Eastern Europe market, after reporting a consolidated profit of 1.27 billion euros (around $142 billion) — up 14% year-on-year — in 2018.

As the release notes, Marco Polo leverages a distributed trade finance platform from TradeIX alongside Corda and aims to bring greater cost and time efficiency, as well as transparency, to commercial banks’ traditional and structured trade finance solutions.

In a statement, Daniel Cotti — managing director at the RBI Center of Excellence, Banking & Trade — said that the bank is looking to considerably expand its geographic coverage and help to drive Marco Polo as the main trade finance network in Europe and the fasting growing globally.

R3 CEO David E. Rutter underscored that “the current infrastructure that underlies trade finance is outdated and in need of investment and modernisation.” The blockchain-powered platform offers technological solutions such as APIs and an ERP-embedded application to innovate working capital offerings, the press release states.

As Cointelegraph has reported, Marco Polo successfully conducted its first live trade finance operations in March 2019 in an operation involving two German firms and major local bank Commerzbank.

A competitor trade finance blockchain platform, IBM-powered We.trade, made its commercial debut in 2018.